Issue #259            HOME          E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com        BACK ISSUES               April 11th, 2005

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Iron Fist
(1995; TVB)

Cantonese: Nam kuen buk tui
Mandarin: Nan quan bei tui
English: Southern Fist, Northern Kick

 

RATING: 7/10

REVIEW:

Tai Seng’s latest abridged miniseries will be of particular interest to fans of ‘80s kung fu icon Moon Lee Choi-fung, as she plays the female lead. STORY OF RICKY’s Terry Fan Siu-wong toplines as legendary martial arts master Wong Kei-ying, who must represent the proponents of the Southern style when they are threatened by a contingent of fighters from the North. Kei-ying’s master, Luk Ah-choi (Chan Hung-lit), must intercede to save Fei-hung’s life when he is challenged by the King of the Northern Kick, Miu Cheuk-fung (Johnny Wang Lung-wei). Subsequent events prompt more combat, shifting loyalties, and serious threats posed by the xenophobic White Lotus Cult and corrupt Ching officials. Through the adversities that follow, Kei-ying relies on the assistance of Northern fighter Tien Wai-lam (Lee), with whom he soon falls in love.

Terry Fan Johnny Wang (left), Moon Lee Chan Hung-lit

Severe editing has left the narrative so frenzied, it is difficult to evaluate Leung Tak-wah’s direction, but the storyline remains coherent and the performances are compelling. It is also a rare treat to hear the real voices of Lee and Old School veterans like Wang and Lee Hoi-sang. The soundtrack includes cues recycled from THE EAST IS RED, ASHES OF TIME, GREEN SNAKE, SWORDSMAN II and THE LOVERS, and these elaborate theatrical scores are a nice compliment for the well-executed kung fu sequences. TVB adapted this story again in 1999 with THE KUNG FU MASTER FROM GUANG DONG, which featured Jade Leung Ching and Felix Wong Yat-wah in the lead roles.

Patrick Tam Yiu-man Moon Lee (foreground), Patrick Tam Yiu-man Terry Fan


PRESENTATION:

This TVB production was shot on video and is presented in its original standard frame across two dual-layer platters. There are some minor conversion flaws and exteriors are on the soft side, but the image generally looks passable. In addition to optional English subtitles, there is a plethora of audio options: Cantonese (DD-5.1 & DTS), English (DD-5.1), and Spanish (DD-2.0 mono). The re-mixes are fairly subdued, and enhance the soundscape without straying too radically from the original intent. Video promos and a brief contemporary interview with Terry Fan are included.

This DVD is available from Amazon:

Images in this review courtesy of Tai Seng. To read captions, hover mouse over image.


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DVD Specifications

  • U.S. Release
  • NTSC Region 0
  • Tai Seng Entertainment #56184
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 & 2.0/DTS
  • Sync Sound Cantonese and Dubbed English and Spanish Language
  • Subtitles (Optional): English
  • 22 Chapters (in total)
  • 4:3 Fullscreen (1.33:1)
  • 204 Minutes

Ratings & Consumer Information

  • Manitoba: 14A
  • Nova Scotia: 14
  • Quebec: 13+
  • Contains moderate violence

FILM REVIEW RATINGS KEY:

  • 10 A Masterpiece
  • 9 Excellent
  • 8 Highly Recommended
  • 7 Very Good
  • 6 Recommended
  • 5 Marginal Recommendation
  • 4 Not Recommended
  • 3 Poor
  • 2 Definitely Not Recommended
  • 1 Dreadful